Microsoft's Overtures to Open Source Thwarted

Kachina Shaw

Microsoft's courtship of Red Hat for a patent and indemnification pact of the sort it has managed to hammer out with Novell, Xandros and Linspire is not going well.


Tom Robertson, Microsoft's general manager of corporate interoperability and standards said Friday that the company would "love" such a deal, reports Computerworld.


A Red Hat spokesperson said the same day that a deal is of no interest.


And as IT Business Edge blogger Lora Bentley pointed out today, Ubuntu distributor Canonical is making it publicly clear that it has no interest in a deal with Microsoft, either, mostly because of the negative impact on open source in general that would result.


And last but not least, coverage this week of a recent survey of open source developers' opinions on software licenses is coming down hard on Microsoft, with good reason.


The survey's consensus: The developers prefer flexibility in licenses, rather than having any organization impressing its views on their work or rights, says this Redmond Developer News article.


Sounds like a rejection of GPL v3 and its planned provisions to prevent Novell-Microsoft-type patent deals, right?


Except that Microsoft sponsored the Harvard Business School study. Who knows how much Microsoft spent for the responses of 34 (yes, a whole 34) developers and this latest slap at the Free Software Foundation and the GPL v3, but even if it was free, that was too much for yet another round lost in this fight.


In reading through the survey summary, though, one topic that bears further investigation (perhaps not with a Microsoft-funded project) is the conclusion that the FSF's actions are designed to protect open source software users' rights, to the detriment of the developers rights. Can one organization effectively serve both masters? Maybe not, but do deals like the Microsoft-Novell agreement do any better?

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Jun 21, 2007 8:43 AM The Management Consultant The Management Consultant  says:
I get the feeling that in the final analysis Microsoft is heading for a fall. Anti trust, monopolies commission however you wish to cut it patients from slow moving regulators will allow Microsoft to control no more that 40 % of this market and other OS related markets. At that point in time those in bed with Microsoft will be subject to the issues of divestment or acquisition. From the publics point of view the last two years has seen the relationship between market competition and rapid technology innovation in this sector very closely linked. Many believe that the return to a single dominant player in the market will once again holdback rapid innovation which the public and industry has an insatiable appetite for. Reply

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